There was a time when honour was valued. Or so your typical lament about the ‘good old days’ often starts, or finishes. Most conversations usually contrast the ‘good old days’ to the not-so-good ‘present days,’ highlighting a time when politicians were honest, employers fair and employees honest and hard working. In such an age, things just made sense.

I wish not to labour over this typical exchange since I do think it is fundamentally wrong. I agree that throughout history, society has gone through a constant exchange between new values, re-invented values, returning to old values and back and forth. What I am most concerned with, however, are certain attitudes that are very concerning, especially as a young adult with the majority of my life still ahead of me.

“The United Nations is a joke.” “Politics will always be corrupt.” “There will always be war.” “There will always be famine.” And worst of all, “You have to choose between the environment and a functioning economy.”

To be sure, society has always had its fair share of cynics. But I am very concerned that this hopeless abandonment of any higher ideals is becoming the new modern norm. When observing the cliffhanging drama that is every single American election, hope seems especially lost. There was a time when the business elite stayed out of politics (at least openly) and sought to make the most of whomever came to power, and the policies they enact. Henry Ford may have been very anti-labour and anti-socialist, but he respected the office of the American President enough to obey the law, accommodate legally-passed labour laws, and courteously and respectfully call the President by his title. Ford had no love for Roosevelt. But when Roosevelt personally phoned Ford to inform him that he had declared war on Japan and Germany, and the government would now be seizing control of his factories to produce army trucks, planes and tanks, Ford did not reply with threats, or even refuse to co-operate.

“Well Mr. President, we are at war, I understand what the nation needs, but it will be impossible to maintain production of personal vehicles while meeting these military production targets,” was Fords purported response.

“You do not understand,” replies Roosevelt. “I just introduced a bill to Congress suspending the sale of all personal vehicles.”
Contrast this with Donald Trump.

“Mr. President, I will personally donate 5 million dollars to a charity of your choice, if you disclose your college transcripts and original passport application.”

In other words, “I do not like you, your policies, or that fact that a black man has authority over me, and I am so arrogant that I will try and publicly extort the office of the President of the United States of America.”

Trump is not alone. Other Wall Street corporate billionaires went so far as to issue pre-emptive pink slips to employees stating that they were fired pending the re-election of Obama. One such insanely entitled CEO did so while finishing off construction on his brand new 90,000 square foot mansion, which upon recent completion has become the largest personal residence in the world. Now Henry Ford and Howard Hughes lived lavish lifestyles for their day and age. But surely inventing the mechanism which made affordable personal vehicles and $100 airline tickets possible makes such Captains of Industry far more valuable to history than some vulture Wall street capitalist of whom nobody even knows how they have contributed to wealth creation. If the people decide they would rather take a short term economic hit for long term economic stabilities or environmental sustainability, then who is any CEO to say otherwise?

I do not typically mix American and Canadian politics, but recent rounds of attack ads by our governing party against the opposition has me realizing this Economic Right’s sense of fear-based entitlement has taken root here too. I was under the impression that another federal election was years away. Get that political negativity off our airwaves please!

Seems to me that we need a massive purging of the Corporate Elite. They have lost their sense of service back to society that comes with the massive personal rewards society gives to them. Make no mistake, they are quite replaceable. Somewhere out there are hundreds of brilliant young minds who are already finding innovative ways to balance society’s deep modern values with the eternal pressures of accumulative personal greed. It is possible to have a healthy economy and environment. It is possible to have honourable and non-corrupt politicians. It is possible to have world peace.

It is possible to feed everybody on this planet. It is possible to have a high standard for labour laws, and profitable returns. It is time that we tell those in the corporate elite who do not think so, “You have outlived your usefulness to society.” We do not want a system where bullying, extortion, bribery and buffoonery are rewarded over innovation and service back to society. Donald Duck Trump. YOU’RE FIRED!

Joseph Nusse